I had to paddle out before the contest when I realized that the dolphins (porpoises?) were saying: “Get your board, you non-water creature. Come on out here with us and get some of this. It’s been flat for a week.”
It was a great way to wake into the first morning of the 5th Annual Slater Brothers Invitational. I left my skateboard in the truck for the morning and took to the water to surf my heat. Mullzy said, “It was drawn out of a hat!”
It was an honor to surf a heat with Bruce Walker, one of the original pros of surf and skate. The waves were knee- to waist-high and nearly glassy — super fun conditions for the longboard event where Shawn Bowman won our heat! Sean Slater fired up some music from the old computer and Hunter was on the mic all weekend long keeping it fresh and fun. Before anyone got there, Skippy was putting finishing touches on the stage hanging banners. Around noon, the half-pipe called the “Goat Ramp” was being unloaded and assembled, ensuring that we’d have the chance to enjoy both surf and skate for the weekend.
Emma and Robin from Ron Jon’s were heading up the t-shirt and raffle tent and hooking up the competitors with tons of goodies from multiple sponsors. April and Julie were directing traffic all weekend long for the World Skin Cancer Foundation, dealing with vendors, officials, humans, and animals alike. Mason, Jenny, Merrik, and Aiden were there checking the heat sheets, and Rhett Fischer was recovering from the kick-off party at Rusty’s the night before. Jimmy and Javier from Oakley were in the house all weekend; Javier was still trying to get his voice back after announcing all last weekend at the AAU. John Ross and Carey B. were rolling tape and live broadcasting all weekend with Terry. They were hooking it up for the webcast, and for those of you with TVs, the event will be on Fuel as well. Oh, and some fruitcake in an energy drink-branded boat screwed up the set waves during one of the longboard heats by driving like a moron through the surf zone. The boat had three green stripes. He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but he was a tool.
Is there really too much crazy drinking at the beach these days? I had to see for myself since for the most part I spend my “beach time” at one of our many secluded and secret surf breaks away from the popular zones. I figured at a crowded event between Coconuts and the Beach Shack that I’d be in prime position to witness this madness. All I noticed were responsible drinkers, drinking beer with family and friends. I must have been in dreamland, because people were chilling with their dogs on the beach. No poo, no pee, just people and canines getting along on this lovely planet. I have since petitioned the travel association to add Cocoa Beach to the Top 3 Family -Friendly destinations in the U.S. Hey, why not?
The Goat Ramp was up and running all day on Saturday where Dan Brown inverts, Wil Cox Texas Plants and MR Frontside RocknRolls were all happening for the greater part of the day. Matt Call was doing how he does and blasting big airs and elevating the session. Dylan Taylor was putting down clean lines with some nice airs and long tailslides. Keith Baldassare was skating hard and hosted a BBQ in his backyard after. Spike was in true form with lots of switch and “spike-tricks,” and Lea Taylor surfed and skated all weekend. Esteban Velez showed up and repped it out, and CBS Park dwellers Bobbye, Luke, Blake, Mikey, Liam, Cole, Elijah, RJ, Peyton, Jarrod, and Grace were all squeezing into the crowded sessions all weekend. Mike Rogers hosted a fun time on the ramp where kids could skate for a donation with a parent-signed release. I took a couple runs and decided that it was a bit crowded and maybe better to watch those rippers until Bruce Walker said, “I’m going to skate the street in front of Coconuts” and I had to join him. We sessioned the flat ground and the curb for at least an hour before I had to run back to the Nixon tent where we were hanging out. Bruce threw down an arsenal of freestyle tricks and was definitely the only one to hang ten on a surfboard and a skateboard all weekend.
On Sunday, I was going to donate a CB Skateboard to the Skin Cancer Foundation, but I wanted to get the Slater Brothers autographs on it so the winner would be that much more stoked. I had the Skippy and Sean part covered, but was missing their brother. Where could he be? Kelly snuck on to the beach with hardly anyone noticing until he was on the announcers stand. It was sick: a full-on covert sneak attack covered by towel, twin fin in hand. Like the millions of other autographs he signed that weekend, he gladly signed the deck for the raffle with a smile. Tons of people were stoked on the Kelly sightings Saturday and Sunday, myself included. Cole Abernathy said it right: “How often do you actually know the best at anything — and the best ever? So naturally we tend to be even bigger fans.” None may have been more stoked than the few chosen groms who had the opportunity to paddle out with the best of the best during the Expression Session — guys like Kelly, Todd Holland, Sean Slater, David Speir, and Sean O’Hare. Seeing that crew together surfing with our next generation of rippers brings my mind back to the time when we were all kids in the 1980s at Roosevelt and CBHS surfing and skating with the OGs.
I have to give a big thanks to Julie, April, Sean, Skippy, and Kelly for putting on an ultra-fun contest weekend! As I drove home, I started to think about my friend Eric and his wife Jessica. They are the proud parents of Radi Grayson Super, who was born October 1. Welcome to the world, Radi! The dolphins are out there and waiting to surf with you! Okay, enough surf already; this is supposed to be a skateboard page…
Black Friday Hometown Skate Jam November 26 at the Cocoa Beach Skate Park.
Congrats to Jonathan Morefield for snaggin’ First Place at Kona Halloween Jam.